Canada - Commercial Guide
Selling to the Government

Summary: Discusses the legal requirements for selling to the host government, including whether the government has agreed to abide by the WTO Government Procurement Agreement or is a party to a government procurement chapter in a U.S. FTA. Specifies areas where there are opportunities.

Last published date: 2020-08-03

Canada is a signatory to three international agreements relating to government procurement: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the 2010 United States-Canada Agreement on Government Procurement. The current agreements provide U.S. businesses with access to procurement conducted by most Canadian federal departments and many provincial entities. U.S. suppliers have access under these trade agreements to procurement by seven of Canada’s Crown Corporations, which are government organizations that operate following a private sector model, but generally have both commercial and public policy objectives. Canada currently has more than 40 Crown Corporations.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), formerly known as Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), is the government's largest purchasing organization, averaging 60,000 transactions and purchasing more than US$14 billion in goods and services annually. PSPC buys goods for the majority of federal government departments; most departments buy services themselves.

The Canadian government has instituted an "Integrity Regime" for public procurement managed by PSPC. This policy can restrict opportunities for firms that have been convicted of or pled guilty to corruption anywhere in the world.

The Canadian federal government provides an official, free, Internet-based electronic tendering service. It is the authoritative source for federal government procurements that are subject to trade agreements or subject to departmental policies that are below trade agreement thresholds. Features of the website include:

· Search for opportunities using simple, plain language search terms to match your good or service to available tenders.

· Narrow search results to opportunities by region, Goods and Services Identification Number (GSIN), department, and more.

· Locate procurement information for any tender, such as previous contracts or pre-qualified suppliers who hold standing offers or supply arrangements.

Federal government buyers use the Supplier Registration Information (SRI) service to identify potential suppliers for purchases that are not subject to any of the trade agreements. All sellers must be registered on the SRI to sell to the Government of Canada.

For a complete listing of where to find government procurement tenders for all provincial governments in Canada, please contact Senior Commercial Specialist Lucy Cicero Latka at Lucy.Latka@trade.gov.

U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.

The Canadian federal government's fiscal year is from April 1 to March 31.

Financing of Projects

The United States Export-Import (EXIM) Bank provides trade and project finance support for U.S. exporters. EXIM has an interest in supporting U.S. small and mid-sized companies, especially those exporting in the following key industry sectors: oil and gas, mining, agribusiness, renewable energy, construction equipment and services, medical equipment and services, aircraft and avionics, and power generation and related services.

The Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments provide extensive financing support for major projects such as infrastructure, energy, and waste and water treatment sectors. In some cases, Canadian entities provide all of the financing for the project (usually through bond offerings) and open the project for competitive bid. In many cases (most often in the energy sector), Canadian entities offer natural resources assets for bid and seek project developers who can secure their own financing. In a growing number of cases, Canadian entities develop infrastructure or energy projects through public-private partnerships in which the Canadian side offers rights, loan guarantees, and/or partial financing to leverage needed additional project financing from private sector partners.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales. The United States Commercial Service maintains Commercial Liaison Offices in each of the main Multilateral Development Banks worldwide such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and others. Canada does not qualify for project financing from any such bank, nor from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (formerly known as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation).